Baltimore Ethical Society (BES) is delighted to announce the election of Dr. Khandra Sears, BES secretary, to the board of the American Ethical Union. She will serve a one-year term in both organizations. Khandra who hails from the island of New Providence did her undergraduate studies University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, Barbados where she developed her deep interest in science and particularly in biology.
According to her: “But it was during my undergraduate studies that I started to question what faith and the stories of the Bible really meant to me. Much of it was hard to reconcile with what I was learning in the classroom and the laboratory, and how I saw myself in the world. I found myself fascinated by how microorganisms had shaped human development and history, and this really set the course for my academic career.”
“I continued to hone my skills and interests while earning a PhD in Microbiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM). I am now part of a research team at the Center for Vaccine Development at UMSOM and we are focused on developing live oral vaccines primarily against non-typhoidal strains of Salmonella enterica but also against other enteric bacteria. Gastroenteric infections are still a leading cause of illness and death in children in resource-limited regions and I think this type of work is one small way I can contribute to improving human lives.”
While her passion for science short circuited her Caribbean Christian orientation, her new life in Baltimore took a different exploration that landed her into the humanist community. “While living in Baltimore I have sought out a community that could help me understand and grow as I moved further away from the faith in which I was raised. It is still difficult to connect with other non-believers of color and Christianity, in particular, is deeply interwoven into Caribbean societies. I connected with Baltimore Ethical Society through the African American Humanist Society on Meetup (later renamed the Frederick Douglas Humanist Society). After a few years of occasionally attending platforms, I became a member and now serve on the Board at BES as the secretary.